One epic e-venture
Melissa Brandner skriver for oss om sitt el-sykkel-eventyr under. Hun tar doktorgrad i arktisk biologi i Tromsø og er norgesmester i frikjøring. Briten på brett er aktiv i miljøsaken og også i Riders Alliance for POW UK
My mum has always called me the Duracell bunny, seemingly having endless amounts of energy and never stopping. I love exploring the mountains in Northern Norway and I also care a lot about the environment and protecting it. Last spring, I headed out on my first electric bike (e-bike) expedition thanks to Tromsø Outdoor ( https://youtu.be/JHyT38c_EF0 ). Since that trip my mind has been going wild thinking of the possible human- powered adventures I could go on. This Spring, I jumped at the opportunity to do it all again.
Why not a normal push-bike you might ask? Well an e-bike has the
capability of allowing you to travel long distances with a heavy load and still manage to have the energy to do other sports in the same day. It also has the added benefit of low emissions. Some research suggests it has lower emissions than a regular bike (due to the carbon footprint of the food we need to eat to give us energy to power the bike, (European Cycling Federation)), and causes less noise and plastic pollution than an e-car!
Springtime up in northern Norway is my favourite season, there is still snow for split-boarding but also dry rock to climb on, and lets not forget plenty of sunshine with the midnight sun. With all of this in mind, I wanted to head out on a 2-day mission, biking, split-boarding and climbing around the local island of Kvaløya. Two of my girlfriends, Tuva and Sara were keen to join. Both girls are talented skiers and passionate about nature just like me.
We borrowed touring e-bikes from Tromsø outdoor, plus two back roller bags for each bike and a trailer. It was midnight sun season and warm enough to sleep out without a tent, so we just packed sleeping bags and mats in our roller bags. We attached our skis/splitboards to the bikes with voile ski straps and packed the rope, climbing gear and stove in the trailer. Our bikes were stuffed with gear so it was going to be interesting to see how far the batteries could take us!
The start was tricky with our heavy loads, packing and repacking until we found balance. Heading off definitely wouldn’t have been possible without the power. The first thing you realise bike-packing with an e-bike versus a push-bike, is the ease of it. Less leg power is required, which means that you relax more, enjoy the view, it almost becomes meditative.
Cycling to Kvaløya we followed a bike path almost all the way to our first stop in Kattfjordeidet. The girls and I didn’t stop smiling and chatting all the way. Everyone was so excited to be outside and feel the fresh air on their faces. We arrived in just under an hour, making an average of 25 km/ h the whole way. In Kattfjordeidet we skied and climbed part of the Soria Moria traverse, the view was spectacular with the steep granite walls of Ersfjord to look out upon. We headed down into Ersfjorden from the ridgeline taking in the scenery while spraying slushy snow into the air. The weather was incredible, almost too much sun and heat, but the conditions perfect for our ski down.
Back on our bikes the next stop was Rekvik. On the way, we took a break at the mouth of Grottfjord. Where there is a beautiful white sandy beach, glaciers to the left and a stunning waterfall to the right, the perfect spot for dinner. It was now getting late and our ambitious first day hit us hard with tiredness as we carried on our journey. Just as we were coming round the corner to Tromvik, 2km from our final destination, my bike died.
E-bikes are heavy in comparison to push-bikes and without the power we were not going to get anywhere. We decided to stop, hang out our hammocks, put on our eyemasks to block out the midnight sun, and get some shut eye. Lucky for us the bike had died in the most romantic spot with views of the midnight sun all night long.
When I woke, I think I was actually sunburnt (note, put on suntan lotion before sleeping out in the arctic in the summer). We bathed in the ocean and slowly started packing our bikes. Thats when Sara realised she had lost the keys to the lock holding 2 of the bikes.I unloaded as much weight as I could off of my bike and cycled to the closest village. I knocked on the door of a local man named Roy Martinsen, who helped me out by lending me a metal saw, and luckily I managed to free the bike. We went to meet Roy and he took our batteries to charge.While they were charging, we made our way up the hill with lighter loads to ski the beautiful Storstolpan. At this point it was not only the bikes energy that was drained but also mine! However, the view was breath taking and the cool air from the snow refreshing. This is the perfect mountain for a midnight sun ski.
Our journey home that night took 2 hours from Tromvik to Tromsø, everyone was silent and rolled at their own pace. Our legs were burning now, but the journey had been amazing! We would definitely recommend a multisport adventure by e- bike.
We made 50km with heavily loaded e-bike + trailer, with 2 side bags a backpack and skis you could make 80-100km.
Tips for e-biking:
- Find a safe place to store many keys and charger parts (more than a normal bike)
- Plan energy points for recharging (takes 2 hours)
- E-bikes still require pedalling, so rest days advisable (we were ambitious)
- Take half a day to a day for packing and trying the e-bike out